Green & Black’s pledge hailed as Fairtrade UK reports £1bn retail sales

By Helen Glaberson

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Fairtrade, Chocolate

The conversion of Green & Black’s whole range and Ben and Jerry’s ingredients to Fairtrade this year could influence other companies to roll out further products under the label, said the Fairtrade Foundation as it announced its first £1bn in UK retail sales.

UK Fairtrade sales jumped 40 per cent to an estimated retail value of £1.17bn in 2010 from £836m in 2009.

Sales of Fairtrade chocolate confectionery have more than quadrupled in 2010 to an estimated retail value of £342m, making chocolate the leading Fairtrade product by value in the UK, according to the Foundation. Sales of Fairtrade drinking chocolate have nearly trebled to an estimated retail value of £34m, it added.

Eileen Maybin, a spokesperson for the Fairtrade Foundation told ConfectioneryNews.com that the organisation was confident of further growth in Fairtrade products. The UK public has a great appetite for Fairtrade,” ​she continued.

Further brand take-up

Maybin said that the Foundation expects more brands to be rolling out Fairtrade lines in the coming year and that those already involved in Fairtrade to expand on what they are doing.

Ben & Jerry’s has made a commitment to make every ingredient they use, from sugar to cocoa, to be Fairtrade in the UK by the end of 2011. January saw confectionery maker, Green & Blacks, also announce the aim of converting its entire range of chocolate bars and beverages in the UK to 100 per cent Fairtrade by the end of this year.

According to the spokesperson, major company moves to Fairtrade on certain brands have contributed to the 2010 growth figures in the UK and it referenced Cadbury's move to the ethical standard for Dairy Milk, Nestle switch to Fairtrade on its four-finger KitKat and Tate & Lyle on its retail sugar.

"This means that Fairtrade chocolate is now very widely available, so people can choose to get their Fairtrade chocolate even on the garage forecourt,"​ she said.

The foundation said that that the first billion mark in UK sales shows the potential for change.

“If the public, businesses and producers can now build on that momentum, Fairtrade could get to £2bn by the end of 2011. It’s ambitious, but it really would be game changing,”​ said the UK organisation, citing figures that show £2.3m chocolate bars are consumed each day in the UK.

Fairtrade Foundation’s executive director, Harriet Lamb claims that "UK shoppers are continuing to embrace Fairtrade, showing no downturn on ethical values despite the tough economic times."

Ivorian unrest

Meanwhile, in terms of the Ivory Coast conflict and its impact of Fairtrade cocoa supplies, Maybin said the Fairtrade Foundation was aware that most of cocoa had already left the region but that a disruption in the banking system meant that there were difficulties in the delivery of cash payments by exporters to farmers.

"Some banks are not open, so farmers are having difficulty paying for their daily needs like food. Because of the violence, it is becoming more difficult to travel around the country and Fairtrade staff are not able to access some areas,"​ said Maybin.

"We’re hoping the situation will be resolved as soon as possible,”​ she added.

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